Propagation: Germinating Baobab Tree Seeds

Discussion in 'Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees' started by Todd82TA, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Todd82TA

    Todd82TA Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'd really like to grow a Baobab Tree on my property (Zone 10b, South Florida). The zone I live in apparently is acceptable for Baobabs, as there are three or four which are growing downtown in Hollywood Circle (about 9 miles from my house).

    I've got several seeds, some from an Australian variety, and others from Africa. I've tried planting them numerous times but it just doesn't seem to work. Some trees grow fine from seeds, but these Baobabs I just can't get to grow, what gives?


    Thanks!

    Todd
     
  2. hippofan

    hippofan Active Member

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    I have started baobab seeds several times for use as houseplants --they could probably withstand most of our temps, but in my area they are annihilated by the soggy winters if left out in the weather. They sure like it outside during the driest part of the year. They like to germinate warm, so I can only plant them during the warm months outside, but you have a much longer season to work with. I use sterile seed starting mix in 4" pots. I use a small pair of jewelry-making wirecutters, and nick each seed. Then, I put them in a bowl and pour hot tap water over them. They will swell up in a few hours to a day. Any that stay floating on top, discard -- they are no good. I fill the pots and water the seed starting mix thoroughly, and then plant the seeds, just drilling small holes with my finger and covering them. Don't let them dry out, but don't over-water. These are usually easy to grow -- the only problem I have had is keeping them from humid areas. They seem quick to rot off if too much water in surrounding air -- but you won't have a problem with that. I have had them germinate in 2 weeks, with stragglers up to a month or so. They are very slow growing, but worth it. Fascinating plants and great foliage. My dream would be to have one flower -- maybe some day. Good luck!
     
  3. Todd82TA

    Todd82TA Member

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    Thanks Hippofan, I really appreciate the advice! This is really great information! I've printed this out and I'm going to give it a go again.

    I did the same thing with my enterolobium cyclocarpum seeds. I actually tapped them lightly with a hammer until the shell cracked, and they ALWAYS germinate within days.

    Great information! Thanks!!!

    Do you think they'll do well here in South Florida? Like I had mentioned, there are a couple of really cool ones down the street in Hollywood (South Florida, not California). It's always very humid here though.


    http://www.artsjournal.com/aestheticgrounds/HollywoodArtsParkMar17-99.jpg


    These have done well...
     
  4. dale1

    dale1 Member

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    Central California coastal region landscaper - grateful for all this Baobab info, and wish to grow one in Avila Beach, CA. Can anyone suggest a source for seed, seedling, or potted or boxed plant?

    Thanks,

    Dale
     
  5. jroger

    jroger Member

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    Yes here hhtp://seedrack.com/01.html
     
  6. dale1

    dale1 Member

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    Thank you ...... I just ordered seeds from your suggestion ... I will post again if seeds arrive in good shape, and again if I am able to successfully germinate.

    Thanks again, Dale1
     
  7. jroger

    jroger Member

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    Dale1,I germanated some baobab seeds once and the place I got them had instructions,it said to file down one part of the seed,i did this years ago and i got one to germinate.But you may need to check before doing this.....Jeff
     
  8. taureros

    taureros Member

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    Hi Todd,

    Germinating the baobab seed is a simple matter. The hard outer seed shell has to be cracked to allow the shoots and roots to emerge. This is normally emulated in nature by elephants and other animals that feed on the seeds for the sour tartar taste they have. In chewing , they break the hard seed case and so enable the shoots to emerge. Planted in normal potting soil and kept warm and you should soon have shoots. By the way , if you are planting the African species , I hope you have a very very very
    big property. These trees are known to grow to an enormous size. In 1981 in Angola , it took 24 adults holding hands outstretched to encircle a massive Baobab. Many of these trees develop hollows in the centre which are used as small homes or storage places.

    regards
    Mike
     
  9. gerryc2267

    gerryc2267 Member

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    Jeff is correct, however do not file or nick anywhere close to either curved ends, this will greatly increase the chances for failure. It is best to to use a concave cutter or similiar instrument. Snip out a small portion on the side of the hard covering. You should be able to see the endosperm(inside the seed). Before doing anything, be sure to soak the seeds in hot water overnight. Let them dry from 12-24 hours prior to planting. It is imperative that you use well drained growing medium or damp, not wet, spagham moss. I have grown hundreds of baobabs. After planting seed approx. 1/2 in. deep, water well. Only water again when the growing medium is barely moist to the touch. Even then do not soak them. Half water them, keeping the seeds barely moist. Baobabs are succulents & very prone to root rot. Also, once the seedling pops its head up, do not attempt to remove the shell covering. One last thing, look up, "bar in a tree." It will amaze you. Happy growing!
    Gerry Collier
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2009
  10. gerryc2267

    gerryc2267 Member

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    Sorry everbody, I did post a reply but it is in the wrong place under Jeff's response. I simply do not have time to repeat the reply now. But do not give up on growing baobabs. They are fascinating & make excellent bonsai trees. Look up,"bar in a tree." You will be amazed. It is actually a beer tavern inside a tree trunk. Any questions contact: gcollier5@cfl.rr.com(are we allowed to give email addresses?)

    Gerry Collier
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well, you can certainly give your email address -- I don't recommend it, though, for your own privacy's sake.
     
  12. Modjadje

    Modjadje New Member

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    Dale, did your seeds grow, and how did your trees progress? I had a bunch of seeds dating from 1994 when i visited my mom in the Transvaal of South Africa, and last week as an experiment i cleaned and soaked them ... to my alarm, two have already germinated. If more germinates, I'll be glad to share.
     

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